Turns out you don't have to be a Liberal MP to know that Stephane Dion’s carbon tax plan - the plan that puts the rest of us on the tab for a “polluters right to pollute" - is the worst idea to come out of Ottawa since the garlic Beaver Tail.
A host of critics (including Dion) are already on record saying Dion's carbon tax would push people into poverty. Now more environmentalists are saying it's a bad idea.
A spokesperson for New Brunswick’s leading environmental group has taken dead aim at Dion’s pledge that his carbon tax would be "revenue neutral". Then what's the point? asks David Coon:
But David Coon, policy director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, says a "revenue neutral" carbon tax will not help the environment or reduce carbon emissions.
He says the only way a carbon tax can have a positive effect on the environment is if the resulting revenues are invested into environmental initiatives like renewable energy sources, construction efficiency programs, and public transportation.
"Neutrality is ridiculous. The point is that if you want to do something, we actually need to make some investments in things like converting our energy system over to one that is more environmentally sustainable."
A truly revenue-neutral tax could not theoretically accomplish any of those goals because government would not be accumulating any new revenues, said Coon.
He ridicules the idea that a carbon tax could somehow reduce energy consumption but won't be accomplished by skyrocketing gas and energy prices.
"If the expectation is that somehow that tax by itself is going to have any impact whatsoever on households, it will not. It will not have one bit of impact on households' consumption of energy," he said, noting that Efficiency New Brunswick's programs are already running on all cylinders.
Coon's is a good point. If Dion’s plan means taxing you more for home heating and gasoline, only to pump that same amount of money back into tax cuts, precisely where on earth is the money going to come from if we are ever going to retrofit homes or build new transit? Municpal property taxes? Thin air?
Dion used to agree with Jack Layton and the NDP that a cap-and-trade carbon market where big polluters pay for the right to pollute was the right way to go. Now Dion is in favour of the same carbon tax scheme he opposed less than two years ago!
They don’t mind punishing the poor and they don’t know where the money will come from. The half-baked ideas they used to deride, they are now the champions of.
The Liberals are just making it up as they go along. Imagine.